Murray expands lead over Rossi - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Murray expands lead over Rossi

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As of 4:30 PM Thursday

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray is again expanding her lead over Republican challenger Dino Rossi as a third day of vote tallies are posted in Washington state.

Thursday's early vote count:

Patty Murray (D) - 51.51%, 879,442
Dino Rossi (R) - 48.49%, 827,834
Murray leads with 51,608 votes

Murray has led since the first vote counts on Election Day. But there are still hundreds of thousands of ballots to count in Washington's slow-moving vote-by-mail system. More counties are expected to report votes later Thursday. One post office was open until just before midnight Tuesday so procrastinators' ballots could be postmarked in time.

The remaining votes consists of mail ballots that will be tabulated over the next two weeks.